War triumphs over sex in British films, according to new archive

Films about sex include 9 Songs and Carry On Camping.

Britons have made more films about war than any other subject, including sex, according to new research.

The British Film Institute (BFI) has looked at its new archive of more than 10,000 UK films, from the first released in cinemas, in 1911, to the present day.

It found that more British films (582) have been made about war – from The Dam Busters (1955) to this year’s Dunkirk, starring Harry Styles – than any other topic.

Barbara Windsor 80th birthday
Dame Barbara Windsor starred in Carry On Camping (Ian West/PA)

That number towers over the 146 movies, everything from Carry On Camping (1969), starring Dame Barbara Windsor, to My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and 9 Songs (2005), which have sex as a theme.

Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs was the most sexually explicit film in the history of British cinema.

Films have been classified into various subjects, from religion to werewolves, in the BFI archive.

Sundance London Film Festival – The Trip to Italy screening
Michael Winterbottom directed 9 Songs (Ian West/PA)

And UK filmmakers are shown to have been more interested in Europe than Great Britain, with 527 films having Europe as a subject.

They include Le Week-End (2013) with Jim Broadbent, Welcome To Sarajevo (1997), The Monuments Men (2014), directed by George Clooney, and Mamma Mia! (2008), compared with 431 for Great Britain.

The BFI has launched a complete living record of UK cinema which can be searched for free at filmography.bfi.org.uk

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